Search for the next Stitches



By Morgan Rose

Many UK students have become familiar with Scratch, the mascot seen at football and basketball games. But Stitches, Scratch’s cousin, has a much younger scene, the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, and the hospital is searching to find the next person to take over his role.

Stitches is the Kentucky Children’s Hospital’s official mascot and is responsible for traveling to various events across the state and providing support to those at the hospital. Auditions for the next Stitches are this Sunday.

Samantha Newton, a kinesiology and health promotion senior, is this year’s Stitches, and she said she decided to try out when she saw the “cute, chubby kitten” and how it brought joy to children who were sick.

After landing the role at last year’s auditions, Newton said she has enjoyed the past months of visiting children across Kentucky and putting smiles on their faces.

“My favorite visits are to Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Just seeing their faces and seeing them light up is reward enough,” she said. “Seeing how positive and upbeat the kids are, is truly encouraging, especially knowing what they’ve been through.”

Newton said she has attended numerous health care events and visited several hospitals throughout the year, and she said when she shows up as Stitches, she never arrives empty-handed.

“When Stitches comes, she always brings presents,” she said. “Kids get to choose between a coloring book or Silly Putty. The kids like that because sitting in bed all day, they get bored, and Stitches gives them something to do.”

Newton encourages students to try out for the position, but said people who try out better be able to tolerate heat.

“Because it gets very hot in the suit,” she said.

During the audition, representatives from Kentucky Children’s Hospital will interview students, and then students will try on the costume. Newton said during this part, students should be themselves. Students interested should be between 4-feet, 6 inches and 5-feet, 2 inches tall.

“Once you’re in the suit, no one knows you, so you just have fun with it,” Newton said.

The student chosen to take over Stitches will be given partial in-state tuition for a year and will have to travel to events with a representative from Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

Tryouts are Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Seaton Center’s gymnastic room, located on South Campus next to the Johnson Center. An informational session will be Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Seaton Center’s gymnastics room.